Judge denies appeal of ex-medical researcher convicted in cyanide poisoning death of wife

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PITTSBURGH — A judge has rejected a defense appeal to overturn the verdict or grant a new trial to a former western Pennsylvania medical researcher convicted in the cyanide poisoning death of his neurologist wife.

Sixty-six-year-old Robert Ferrante was sentenced to life in prison after Allegheny County jurors convicted him last fall in the April 2013 death of Dr. Autumn Klein.

Defense attorney Chris Eyster argued that Ferrante was convicted on circumstantial evidence, that there was no evidence that he put cyanide in his wife's energy drink and that medical specialists disagreed about whether she died of poison or a sudden heart dysrhythmia.

A Common Pleas judge's denial of the appeal allows the defense to appeal to Superior Court.

Ferrante, a prominent Lou Gehrig's disease researcher, has steadfastly denied having poisoned Klein.

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